The Albert Cuyp market in Amsterdam is the most famous market in the Netherlands and one of the largest markets for dumpster diving in the city. The best day is said to be Saturday, when you might find quite some more divers.
How to get there
Take Tram 16 or 24 from the Center and get off at Albert Cuyp-straat, or take tram 4, get off at Stadhouderskade and you will find yourself at the end of the other side of the open-airmarket. Tram 12 and tram 3 also stop quite close to the market, get off at the stop Ferdinand Bolstraat (location on map). From the center, it is a 15-20 minutes walk south. The market is situated just some streets further South than the Heinekenplein.
Time to get there
On Saturdays the best time to get at the market is between 17:00 and 18:00. At 17:00 the first market-stalls clean up and leave their stuff behind their stands, either in boxes or in containers. Around 17:30 the last stalls start cleaning up. You can generally find good trash up until 18:00 when vendors are supposed to have left and the cleaning starts. At weekdays, you might get better results when you'll get in a bit earlier, around 4:30 in the afternoon. Technically, the market closes at 5:00, but many vendors start breaking down before that.
What to look for
The Albert Cuijp market sells lots of things then just food, so you often have to walk between the many clothes shops to find places with food. The concentration of food markets are near the Ferdinand Bolstraat end of the market, with about 8 vegetable stands. At the opposite end there are a couple of food markets, but if you have to focus because of time you should stay near the Ferdinand Bolstraat.
Vendors leave their trash in special containers behind their stalls, or in boxes. In the beginning of the market you will also find a special corner where many vendors leave stuff behind, with the intention for people to bring these things with them for free. There is also one centralized compost pick up at Albert Cuyp.
Vendors Feelings about dumpster divers
Vendors appear largely ambivalent about dumpster divers. They are very much used to seeing people looking for some food after the market closes, and some also leave their trash-food in special boxes or corners for people to pick it up.
There are occasionally local homeless people or poor people scavenging through the market also, be generous with them (this typically means moving away from the dumpsters so they have access) and respectful of their needs, which are likely greater than yours. This counts especially on Saturday's when many people come to the market to harvest trash. The etiquette to be normally used is to give them lots of space and not dumpster from the same general area when they are.
TLog - Trash Log
On Nov 22, 2008 Sierra, Dennis Collective and Paxus went around 4:30 and the weather was pretty bad, snowing and rain. But we still got some stuff, mangoes, tomatoes, apples, oranges, lettuce, tangerines, mushrooms. We also ran into two sets of other dumpster divers. One older woman wearing a head scarf. And then an older couple, with again the woman in a Muslim head scarf. Also, when we asked some vendors if we could take from a box inside their stall that they were putting spoiled food into they seemed indifferent to our efforts. No one told us away, no one seemed to put bags out for us - but it got wet and we might have missed them by leaving too soon.
On Dec 6, 2008 Robino recognized 2 women with whom he had gone through some bins before. Now though there were quite some more people I hadn't met before, making us a total of 8. He didn't get that much food this time but it was just enough for the weekend. Rose also joined - it was her first time - and when she spotted freshly thrown away flowers in a corner, she didn't stop for more :) There was also one girl trying to stop Robino from diving... she said she was selling the fruits, while she was standing there with her mom looking very trendy and all. Robino thought that was quite a funny experience.